So, yes, these first few chapters are re-posts... the new stuff will be coming within the week, I promise thee. I should have been more careful. I should have seen where things were headed. Would I have done anything different though? I don't know. Maybe one or two things, maybe everything. If I'd been able to see me now would it have even begun? This is, above all, a cautionary tale. Power corrupts. Remember that and if you ever get the chance...well, make your own choice. The Beginning, always a good place to start, don't you think? It was the first autumn that I hadn't been in school since I was a child. I'd graduated the previous spring with a degree in visual art from a reputable if unexceptional school on the West Coast of Canada. To celebrate my freedom I did two things, I ended a long term relationship and I went travelling through Central America. Neither of these things are exceptional, thousands of people make the same choices when they reach the point I was at. My girlfirend was particularly understanding. "I know why." She said sadly, laying a hand on the side of my face. "When you're done. I'll probably still be here." She looked up, half smiling. "Probably. I don't promise anything." Costa Rica is gorgeous. The beaches, the jungle, the volcanoes, it's all incredible. Nicaragua is hotter and drier, the people are more open than they are in Costa Rica. El Salvador is amazing in every respect, San Salvador in particular I loved. While there I actually picked up some knock off Viagra. Just to try of course. Honduras is still recovering from Hurricane Mitch. Mitch, a category five storm, stalled over Honduras in 1998. There are still whole fields of trees without upper halves. By far the best part of central america is Guatemala. Guatemala is the next Thailand. It's beautiful, it's tropical, it's cheap, and it's largely undiscovered by western tourists. I loved it, I absolutely loved it, and really it is the beginning. The funny thing about travelling alone...none of your stories begin with "I" they're all "we" stories. You always meet people. Joanna was one of those people. I met her in Antigua, the first place anyone goes when you get to Guate. Tarvellers are lazy, everything gets abreviated. We met at a small bar which on this night happened to be full of Isralies. Isralies are great, they all do their two years in the military and then bugger off and go travelling. Thing is, they travel in packs. On this night their pack was about thirty strong. I found myself leaning against the bar, Gallo (local beer) in hand nodding slowly to the band that was playing, listening to the cacaphony of Hebrew being spoken around me when a voice cut through. "Another one?" I turned, to see a woman standing behind the bar looking pointedly at my nearly empty bottle. "Please." And then, "Where you from?" "Canada." This immediate comon ground led to a long night of talking and drinking. Joanna was from back east, she had also completed a degree and then gone travelling. Joanna was, like the jungles that surrounded us, heart-skippingly gorgeous and carried a similar threat. If you get lost, you're dead. She was tall, five nine or ten, never whore heels. Her mother was italian, her father brazillian. Long, thick dark hair framed olive skin with enormous dark eyes and soft red lips. A thin shirt clung to her sides and plunged at her neck revealing a hint of impeccable cleavage and a divinely inspired hourglass waist. The perfect butt is shaped like an upside down heart, Joanna could have molded chocolate boxes. Her voice was the curl of smoke rising from a cigar, her skin was brandy. I was helpless. Two days later we left Antigua heading north, our ultimate destination being Tikal. By far the most impressive remnant of the great Mayan civilization. You know in Star Wars when the X-wings take off to kill the death star and there's that incredible shot of massive stone temples rising from unbroken jungle? That is Tikal. We never made it. Halfway up, three days out from Antigua we were staying in a tiny town whose name I was never sure of. We learned from a couple kids that near the town were some small ruins. Nothing on the scale of Tikal, but virtually unexplored and unknown. We loaded up and headed out into the jungle. It was a gorgeous day, undeniably hot but not oppressive. We told the old woman who ran the hotel where we were going and when we expected to be back. When I think back now that woman looked at both of us and smiled strangely. I think I remember her laughing as we left. But I'm not sure, she may have just smiled kindly. We stepped into the jungle, felt it close around us and set off to find the ruins.